Most people plan for their financial health in retirement, but neglect to address the non-financial aspects of no longer working: What will they do with to make the most of their time?
Have You Considered the Non-Financials?
A Consumer Reports survey conducted in 2010 showed that only 19 percent of those surveyed were highly satisfied with their retirement planning. Presumably, retirees would like to enjoy retirement, which of course means ensuring their finances are in order. Beyond that, though, how does one go about planning this phase in life which can be relaxing and enjoyable, or stressful and full of doubt?
“Many people hope that their retired years will be the best in their lives; they say they want to ‘finish well’ and not just give up or fade away,” say authors Dr. Ronald W. Richardson and Lois A. Richardson in their retirement planner Creating a Happy Retirement, A Workbook for Planning the Life You Want.
The Richardsons penned their planner as a way of addressing these questions retirees have about planning for a successful retirement, beyond the financial questions. While some of the advice is common sense, it could all be helpful to someone who is unsure of what the future holds for him or her in retirement.
Said the authors in the book, “In one survey, 50% of retired people said that they had not spent enough time thinking about their life in retirement. In another survey, 70% of retiring people said they had made no plans for this new phase of life. In our case, we knew that if we entered retirement with no plan, we would not do many of the things we had said over the years that we wanted to do when we had the time.”
The planner asks the reader to consider what makes him or her happy, and delves into whether his or her life trajectory is on a suitable path to achieve this happiness in retirement. Where the reader has been is as important as where he or she is going in determining what is right for each individual, and if an individual is part of a couple, then different considerations come into play. The planner is not a way to write a “bucket list,” (unless that is how the reader wishes to approach retirement — it’s up to each person).
Perhaps most useful to a reader considering the questions posed are the exercises and forms offered in the planner. Every person will no doubt answer differently, leading to what is hopefully the right outcome for him or her.
“It would be too bad to have spent years putting away money for your retirement, planning your financial goals and executing those plans, and then not know what to do with the time you have when the day arrives,” said the Richardsons.